Enfatico, welcome to the new world!

Much has been written about the misfit between traditional ad agencies and the new digital world in which we are marketing. They don’t get it. They are too siloed. They can’t kick their dependence on TV. They aren’t adaptable. The criticisms go on and on. And rightly so.

So when WPP decided to create a new agency at the behest of Dell, many wondered if this start-from-scratch approach would work and become the new model.

Torrence Boone, the agency’s CEO,  opened up to the media recently. In Ad Age, he proclaimed, “At Enfatico, we are talking about true integration, everything under one roof, zero legacy, one profit-and-loss statement, analytics, cost efficiency. We’re media agnostic…all of these things provide a much-differentiated value proposition.”

I couldn’t agree more with their strategy. We’ve been at it for almost eight years and clients have embraced this approach. However, I believe Mr. Boone’s challenge is not the strategy, but the execution. Here’s my advice to him based on what we’ve learned by implementing the the “new agency model.”

1. Focus on building a culture of collaboration: This is not an easy task but is essential to the success of an integrated agency. If your people can’t work together, the client might as well work with multiple agencies.

2. Recruit and retain the best talent: I believe this will ultimately be the failure of Enfatico. The best people simply don’t want to be limited to working only on one client, especially one as demanding as Dell. Many of our good people have been highly recruited to join them. We’ve been fortunate that they all have said no. Good for us. A real challenge for them.

3. Develop best practices for marketing in this new era: Simply digesting all the work for hundreds of agencies is an all consuming task for Enfatico. There will be a tendency to establish operational processes based on the type of work that they are taking on (print ads, catalogs, Web banners…). This will ultimately defeat the purpose for which they were created. We have learned over the years that integrated planning in a very complex media world requires new methodologies, not just connecting the dots between exisiting departments.

Mr. Boone, welcome to the new world. It’s exciting. It’s challenging. And if you execute your strategy, you will prosper as we have. Good luck!